Inspired by and written for Weekly Prompts Wednesday Challenge – thank you, Sue and GC
Extremism, the breeding grounds of hate and bigotry. It’s not radical to hate, it is not cool to discriminate. You know those two are waiting in the wings don’t you? Kip and Gai, mainly Gai this time, and some memories of his old country – here goes
I was watching my future husband working on his project for Adasi. Kip was full of hope, full of dreams for the future, his passion for peace radiated from him. I think he just wanted to forget his past, even pretend it never happened. Not that he could, of course. I know the evils done to him by the political regime of Criahtrana, our old homeland, ripple through his nightmares most nights. Most nights I hold the love of my life as he sobs and screams.
Kip doesn’t remember the old Criahtrana, before the despot President Robles and the Free People Party took power. The irony in their political name is heart-breaking. Before them, Criahtrana had been free. Maybe a bit backward as it was a mainly rural country and most people worked the land in some way. The FPP came along with promises of modernity, technology, and a world competitive economy.
Rapidly the beautiful countryside was taken over by smoke-belching factories, and those who protested against that simply disappeared. All too soon freedom meant toeing the party line and kowtowing to Robles dictatorship. Well, that world competitive economy never happened as the outside world hit Criahtrana with economic sanctions and more economic sanctions. To Robles that was a declaration of war.
All too soon the Borderlands were seen as a place of refuge for those of us who opposed the regime, Getting there was seen as treason against the state and, if caught, meant certain death. I had travelled from the coast, using the system to survive. I dressed in the grey trousers and white shirt uniform, not to conform but to hide. It didn’t pay to stand out.
I had been in the capital Qiekery for no more than a week when I met the young and naïve teenager, Kip. I remember how he tried to fight me for a piece of stale bread. His scrawny malnourished body pained me and I let him have the bread. I watched him eat like a starved animal, then listened to the rebellious spirit that was Kip tell me of his plans to escape.
‘You’ll be dead within a month,’ I said.
‘Worth the risk, even death has to be better than this.’
‘True,’ I said. ‘Tell you what, maybe, if we work together, make real plans, one of us might stand a chance. I have been working the system for years to get this far. If you want to eat you have to work, if you want to work you have to appear like them.’
‘It’s knowing when it is safe when there is a way into the Borderlands’
‘That’s what nights are for, do you think it is only us wanting to get out’
‘So you know how to find things out too,’ said Kip.
I nodded. Looking around for an empty building to shelter in. I saw an old shop, empty and silent. ‘C’mon, let’s get outta here the militia will be out prowling soon’